Stratford voters approved two new bond issues by a wide margin Tuesday, indicating widespread support for the district’s plan to buy property and upgrade its bus fleet.
With all precincts reporting shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, 201 votes had been cast in the proposition one measure, with 153 for and 48 against. On proposition two, 200 votes had been cast, with 154 for and 46 against.
Voters approved two separate bond issue proposals — one for $115,000 and a transportation bond issue for $285,000. The district will use part of the proceeds from the first bond issue to purchase nearby property.
Superintendent Michael Blackburn said the district is landlocked, so it will need to acquire additional property if it wants to expand. He said the adjacent properties would likely be used to provide additional parking or for some other use.
The remaining proceeds from the first bond issue will be used to make improvements to the district’s existing bus barn, which is very old and has been damaged, Blackburn said.
Proceeds from the second bond issue will be used to buy three new route buses and a special-needs bus.
Blackburn said the district needs new buses because all of the current buses have racked up at least 100,000 miles, and four out of eight buses are either 1998 or 1999 models. He added that the district has spent over $20,000 on bus repairs each year over the past three years.
Funding for the new buses is a separate proposal because proceeds from a transportation bond issue may only be used to buy new buses, not other items.
Property owners in the district will see their annual tax bills rise by 60 cents a month for every $100 or $5.96 for every $1,000.
Reporter Eric Swanson contributed to this story.